Tuesday 10 – Hall

Each week, we will spend ten minutes writing and attempting to complete a flash story. We hope that the exercise will allow us to grow as writers, as well as provide a small amount of entertainment for you. Further, we hope to inspire you to do the same.

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Crack a Smile

Pete sighed heavily as he turned his key in the lock.  The last place he wanted to be at 4 in the morning was at work, but he was rarely in the places he really wanted to be.  Might as well get paid to be somewhere unpleasant.  As he closed the door to the comedy club behind him and locked it he sighed again.  The place stunk of beer and sweat.  He thought about his grand illusions coming out of college.  An accountant could do anything, his professor had told him.  He saw himself sitting the boardroom of some high powered corporation, overseeing billion dollar mergers.  

Pete sighed again.  This was his life.  The accountant for a semi-popular comedy club in downtown Spokane.  If he ever saw that professor again he was gonna give her some flawed financial advice that would lead to at least a two point dip in their stock portfolio.  That’d teach her.  

As he walked up the stairs and flipped the light on in the office, Pete froze.  A man with a gun was pulling all the money out of the safe.  The man froze and the two of them locked eyes.  There was an abundance of cash on hand, it was the reason Pete was in early.  A big name comic had been through the night before and the returns had been even higher than expected.  It looked like the thief knew that, as well.  

“You picked the wrong morning to come in early, funny man,” the thief said.

Pete raised his hands in the air slowly.

“I’m just an accountant.  Take the money and go, I won’t tell.”  

The thief laughed bitterly.  

“Sure you won’t.  Probably best if I kill you, just to be sure.”

For the first time, Pete realized he might die.  

“Please, I swear man, I don’t care about this money.  It’s not even my money.”

The thief thought for a moment, then gestured to a chair with the gun.  Pete sat down.  

“Here’s the deal funny man.  I’m gonna keep packin’ this money in this here bag, and you’re gonna tell me some jokes.  Now as you can tell, I ain’t in a laughin’ mood.  So here’s the deal.  You make me laugh, you die.  Your jokes stink?  I let you live.”  

Pete was slightly relieved.  He wasn’t funny at all.  He tried to think of the dumbest joke possible.

“What did the duck say to the other duck?” Pete asked.

The thief shrugged.

“Quack quack?”

Pete shook his head.

“He said, I’m not a duck, I’m a radio.”

The thief looked angry.  He pointed the gun at Pete’s head.

“Real jokes!  None of this nonsense crap!  Another one!  Hurry up!”

Pete swallowed hard.  

“Why’d the chicken cross the road?”

The thief paused for a moment before speaking.

“Get to the other side?”  

Pete shook his head.

“He forgot his wallet at home.”  

The thief contemplated it for a moment, then continued packing the money.

“Last joke.  Go.”  

Pete searched his brain for one final joke.  Finally he recalled one.  

“Knock knock.”  

The thief smiled and raised the gun.  

“Oh, you done messed up funny man.  You see, I’m a bit of a knock knock guy.”  

Pete was sweating now.  The thief smiled, liking to see his victim squirm.

“Who’s there?” the thief asked.  

Pete wanted to stop, to not continue, but the gun was a great motivator.  

“Scold.”  

“Scold who?”  

“Scold outside, let me in,” Pete said.

He watched closely.  The moment froze, the thief staring at him, gun at the ready.  Pete searched the man’s face, terror gripping him.  After what felt like an eternity, a slight smile pulled at the edge of the thief’s mouth.  

“Oh dear Lord…” Pete said.  

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